<
>

NCAA violation to cost Lopes job

FRESNO, Calif. -- Fresno State basketball coach Ray Lopes
resigned Thursday after a school investigation determined that he
violated an NCAA rule about telephone calls to recruits.

Lopes was hired in 2002 to replace Jerry Tarkanian, whose
seven-year run as coach put the Bulldogs on four years' probation
by the NCAA for violations including academic fraud.

"When I came here I made a commitment to running a program with
no violations," Lopes said in a statement released by the school.

"I recognize that there have been violations of the telephone
contact rule in the recruitment of some prospective
student-athletes. I regret that occurred.

"I am resigning at this time … to minimize any potential
jeopardy for the university."

Interim athletic director Paul Oliaro said Lopes had been
cooperative but said he couldn't comment on the details on the
infraction because an investigation is ongoing. The school said it
was still working with the NCAA and the Western Athletic Conference
to determine the full extent of possible violations.

Lopes went 50-37 in his three years with the Bulldogs, winning
the WAC title his first year. Fresno State went 16-14 this season
and did not qualify for the postseason.

"I respect him for his forthrightness in this matter and for
accepting responsibility for the problem," Oliaro said.

Fresno State fired women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein
earlier this month. The school said a three-week investigation
determined that Johnson-Klein inappropriately obtained pain
medication from students and staff and violated NCAA rules.

Johnson-Klein's attorney has said the allegations are false or
blown out of proportion.